(Reuters) - The Dow Jones industrial average climbed to its highest level in nearly 5 years on Friday after an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate pointed to an improving economy.
The S&P 500 rose for a fifth day and was also on course to close near a five-year high. The index has gained nearly 17 percent so far this year and is on track for its best yearly run since 2009 when stocks rebounded after the financial crisis.
But the indexes were off their highs of the day in afternoon trading, suggesting the market may struggle to make further progress with third-quarter earnings season starting next week.
Labor Department data showed the jobless rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point in September to 7.8 percent, its lowest since January 2009. Investors focused on a survey of households that pointed to a big surge in hiring.